Hot Springs County Dems LGBTQ+ Panel

Wednesday, Hot Springs County Democrats hosted an LGBTQ+ discussion panel that featured nine speakers from a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds. I had the opportunity to attend, and I’m so glad I went.

After dinner at the recent Blue Bison event in Riverton, a few of us were hanging out and enjoying each others’ company, when one of the Hot Springs delegation told us that he was going to be on this panel June 7. He wanted to tell us his story so we could provide feedback ahead of the event.

I’m not going to tell Larry’s story here – it’s not my story to tell – but it was hopeful, sad, and uplifting all at once. Larry’s vulnerability and openness to share some of the most difficult times of his life was touching, and I resolved to attend if my schedule would allow.

It was incredible.

There was a wide range of panel participants – a PhD professor, an MD, folks from the community advocacy groups Safe Haven and Prevention Coalition, a representative from Wyoming Equality, Vickie Goodwin (widow of Sissy Goodwin), and several folks like Larry who were willing to share their stories.

Kim Bartlett, Chair of Hot Springs County Democrats, introduces the panel.

There had been fears ahead of time that this event would not go smoothly. Threats and harassment were received and the organizers prepared for the worst, but hoped for the best.

The best is what they got, and then some. The threats never materialized, and it was standing room only. There was a palpable feel of love in the room – love for neighbors who felt free to be themselves, and love for those who may feel alone in their struggle for acceptance and belonging.

At the end of the panel presentations, there was a short Q&A session. The one that got me right in the feels was “My great-grandson just came out as trans. What can I do to help support him?” She demonstrated what being an ally looks like with one short question.

That kind of love is valuable, and it was a privilege to be among that great-grandma and others like her. It was uplifting and a breath of fresh air that sometimes we don’t even know we need.

Be like that grandma. Be an ally. Show up for your friends and neighbors and accept them for who they are. It means the world to them, and you might get more out of it than you thought you would.

Choose love.






2 responses to “Hot Springs County Dems LGBTQ+ Panel”

  1. Meghan Jensen Avatar
    Meghan Jensen

    Thank you so much for sharing and attending! The statement “What can I do to help” is so very important and my hope is that many others can find this statement and actively start using it.

  2. […] just LOVE this! Natrona County Dems have a blog entry on their website about a panel put on by the Hot Springs County […]

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